I Am Not Your Negro

In the 1970s, the American writer James Baldwin gathered notes and letters for a manuscript called ”Remember This House”, but it was never finished. This documentary was based on it, with Samuel L. Jackson reading the notes as the voice of Baldwin. He’s a hypnotic presence throughout. If you’re not familiar with Baldwin this is a fascinating introduction and an intellectually demanding film about the African-American man’s place in society, well directed with arresting archive footage. The film makes a clear connection to current inner-city problems between the police and young black men, but the focus lies on the 1960s and the civil rights movement, with Baldwin telling us about his memories and impressions of three icons – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

2016-France-U.S.-Switzerland-Belgium. 93 min. Color-B/W. Produced by Rémi Grellety, Hébert Peck, Raoul Peck. Directed by Raoul Peck. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

BAFTA: Best Documentary.

Last word: “I did not write one single line. Everything in it is pure Baldwin. What I did was create a sort of libretto, like dancers who take a Shakespeare play and use it to make a collage to construct something different.” (Peck, Financial Times)

 

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